Friday, December 3, 2021

Two Blind Men

3rd /Dec 2021

Today's Gospel:

Matt 9: 27- 31

As Jesus went on His way two blind men followed Him shouting, "Take pity on us, Son of David." And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with Him and He said to them, "Do you believe I can do this?" They said, "Sir, we do." Then he touched their eyes saying, "your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you." And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, "Take care that no one learns about this." But when they had gone, they talked about Him all over the countryside.


It is interesting that Jesus asks the two blind men if they believe he can cure them. And then He goes on to say that their Faith deserves it. How is my Faith when I ask something of Jesus, when I pray? Do I believe that He can, that He will help me? Sometimes my Faith is weak, sometimes my love is wanting. Sometimes I am blind and need Jesus to help me to see. 

Take pity on me, Son of David. 





Monday, November 29, 2021

Advent 2021 / 1

 28th  Nov 2021.

What will we be able to do for Christmas this year, given the new Omicron variant is with us. 

It seemed we had moved on somewhat from where we were at this time last year.

Do you remember? There was lots of talk of Christmas and how we were going to be able to celebrate with our families and friends under the strict restrictions. 

We were encouraged ( some would say, forced) to choose a "bubble" of 2 other households to be with over the 5 day holiday. 

How were we to do that? Just with my own children, there's 8 households. Logistically, for us, it was difficult. 

I mean, ALL the children and ALL the grandchildren want to see us at some time during the Christmas season.  

Fortunately for us, we keep the 12 days of Christmas, so we thought we'd manage ok. 

But then, it was all taken away from us and being in tier four we could only celebrate with those in our own  household. What a trying time it was.  Maybe you've got a story to tell from last year? I'd love to hear it.

Here's a few words I wrote exactly a year ago today:

The Parachute 

My life is in freefall, heading for a crash,

so many concerns eating me up.

I'm going so fast,

the grounds coming towards me,

no time to think...

But then,

I reach out to you, 

throw my burdens on you.

You, in your tenderness and kind compassion,

offer me a parachute.

Now, 

everything slows, 

the wind no longer distorts my face

Rather, 

the warm breeze blows soft against my cheeks,

clouds, fields, trees,

no longer race by sore eyes - unrecognisable.

Instead,  form,  beauty, colour ,

the rising, the  falling of the landscape,

are captured,

each one a place to dwell,

a place to be refreshed.

Gently, slowly, I descend,

land lightly on grass that kisses my feet,

land beside a river, where the rippling

water is healing.

Here, I'll rest,

for now. 


This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent.

Here is our Advent wreath for this year:

Tonight we shall light the first candle, as we will every night this week. Next Sunday we'll light a second. 



Gospel

Luke 21:25-28,34-36

That day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’


My comment:

"...stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand."

Liberation from what, I wondered. St Augustine says something about the truly rich man being the one who has no needs. Our needs, or what we think we need, ties us down, chains us up, keeps us bound. We all need liberation. Practicing detachment then is a spiritual task a task if carried out prayerfully and not just to live a minimalist life, will bring us closer to God.  

Advent is a good time to take stock, to see where my heart is, to clear the way a little bit so that I'm more free. How many of my needs are, in reality only wants. 

Could I live this Advent with a more generous spirit. 

And thereby be more read to meet Jesus when He comes at Christmas. 

 

 





Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Minack

22nd August 2021

The Minack

"Anyone want a cup of tea?" I call out, lifting the kettle to fill it anyway. I wince at the pain, my hands aching after spending a couple of hours scraping old embossed wallpaper from walls in the hallway. 

"Please..." they all - hubby, daughter and son in law -  shout back in unison.

We sit unceremoniously around the large farmhouse table, four mugs, two plastic beakers containing water for the grandchildren - Raphy must have the dark blue one and Molly the pink- and snacks of biscuits and fruit to keep us going. We're all tired and I promise after my cup of tea I'll read some stories to the children, after all we have been neglecting them a bit. And I didn't say it but I'd had enough of scraping the walls. My back, my legs, my hands... Yes, even if I have to read Grimwort's Ghosts for the twentieth time, at least it'd be a rest for my body.

"Mum and Dad, we've got a surprise for you," Jo was eager to tell us her news. Paul sat there with a smile on his face. 

"What surprise?" I didn't like surprises. Must be my incessant desire to control every environment that I'm in. I tried to muster up some enthusiasm. Maybe I should have said, "A surprise, how lovely, what is it?" Easy to know how to react in retrospect. My query was, on the contrary, tinged with suspicion. Am I even going to like this surprise?

"We've got you tickets for the Minack Theatre for next week."  The Open air theatre, really? What if it rains? What if it's cold? What if I hate the performance? So many negative thoughts circling in my head. Yes, I know, you think I'm ungrateful. Probably I am.  And it must have shown on my face. I didn't mean it to. I tried for it not to.    

"You don't have to go. Me and Paul can use the tickets and you guys can babysit," I heard the hurt in her words. She was deflated.  Paul looked confused. I mean it was a present they were giving us.

"Well, I'd love to go, Jo. Thank you very much." said my dear hubby. 

"No, we'll go. What's on anyway? It's just, you know, I don't like surprises." Was I  making it worse. 


"Shakespeare's, "A Winter's Tale" , you'll love it mum." I hoped I would. I decided if I didn't get wet or cold, that would be a win.  


Porthchapel Beach

When the day came for our visit, we decided to make a day of it and get to see some of the area around the theatre - beaches, coast path, etc -   especially as it was meant to be really beautiful and we    wouldn't get back there again on this trip. 

After 9.30 Mass in Camborne we set off for Porthcurno, Penzance. As far as I recall the sat- nav predicted the journey would take about forty minutes. The last part of the journey took longer than expected. I  kept thinking we were nearly there, and that the sat-nav must be wrong, only to find more narrow roads to negotiate.   

 

After checking out where we had to go later and speaking to an official,  who told us the Theatre car park would be open at six o'clock, we headed off to find another car park we'd spotted back up the hill. which had a big sign saying   "All day - £3". 

"We'll just park there, then we won't have to worry," Peter said. I agreed. 

We set off for a walk, bringing nothing with us, not even beach attire. That was a mistake. We also had no water. Another mistake. 

It was a long walk, maybe half an hour, including the climb down, to Porthchapel Beach. It was beautiful. After an hour enjoying the sun and talking to a family Margate - yes, what are the odds? - I started to worry about hubby being hungry and more importantly needing fluids. 

Porthchapel Beach

On the way back up we asked a few people if they knew anywhere that sold food and drink, a cafe or something. Two options, both the same distance as going back to the car, and that's only if we found them. 

"I've actually got  something for dinner in the fridge," I said. "And I'll make coffee. It'll be easier."

"Ok, if you want," he'd have preferred to find a cafe, but didn't say anything. 

He handed me an empty plate. 

"I thoroughly enjoyed that," he said. 

"Yeh, it was good, wasn't it?"

A few new potatoes, some salad and a pork chop. What could be better?

He played  his guitar while we drank our coffee.



We had another walk along the coast path in the afternoon , but in the direction of Porthcurno Beach. We didn't make it down. We were quite happy walking. Every now and again someone would stop to talk to us. 

Porthcurno Beach


When we got back to the camper we had another cup of coffee and some raisins, before heading off to the theatre.

"Where's your raincoat?" hubby was packing a rucksack with items we might need.

"Under the seat," I said, "and have you got the blankets?"

"Of course."

Off we went to queue, both carrying a cushion each. 

During the performance, which I absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed, we watched seasoned theatre goers with their picnic baskets - cheese and wine, Cornish pasties, soups. It was amazing. If we get to go again we must be more organised.  

The theatre company, a small touring group from somewhere in London, were phenomenal. 

I've never read that particular play of Shakepeare's. Seeing that performance certainly made me want to. 

we will be back, that's for sure. 







 









Wednesday, August 18, 2021

I'm Back - Maybe...

 18th Aug 2021

I'm Back - Maybe...

Having not posted anything on my blog since 30th April, the last day of the Poem a Day in April challenge - is it really that long?- I was surprised to find that in July I had over 12,000 visits and this month already, with a little way  still to go, there are over 700.

How interesting to find that people are finding my blog when I'm not even pushing it. 

Total visits now stand at over 86,000. That's not bad, really, is it? 

Thank you to everyone who looks me up and reads my words. 



Today I'm here , on the blog that is, because I'm avoiding working on my memoir.  After a break of more than five weeks, I'm finding it excruciatingly difficult to get started again. 

So, this is writing, right? Giving those writerly muscles a workout - yes? I mean, I need it. I haven't even been doing my morning pages!! I know !! How can I even admit that!!

Why, you may ask, has there been such a long break? 

Well, mainly, it's because hubby and I have been in Cornwall. No, no, no, not touring in the camper. That would have been nice. No, we were with our daughter and her family. We helped them move to their new(?) house, with the idea that hubby would put in a new bathroom for them. Shouldn't take long, I thought, maybe a week, then we can have a bit of a holiday. No chance.

 Eventually, after nearly four weeks Peter and Son in Law finished said bathroom to  triumphant shouts of joy from the rest of us. I hadn't even washed my hair in all that time, or had a shower. I didn't mind too much. We are used to wild camping, after all.



I was kept busy all this time helping with "decorating" (code for stripping the wallpaper off the walls in the hallway-a mindblowingly slow process), cooking, entertaining the children and going for walks on beautiful beaches. 



Unfortunately, and the reason why I didn't write, they hadn't yet got internet at the house and even the phone signal was poor. So, not only didn't I write but I also didn't keep in touch with anyone by phone. 



But now we're home and hopefully I'm ready to go...









Friday, April 30, 2021

Haiku to end

 30th April 2021


    Because I have limited time, I end the 30 day challenge with NaPoWriMo with a simple Haiku. The form for a  Haiku is, traditionally, three lines of 5, 7 5, syllables. There are other aesthetic considerations which I haven't necessarily followed here. The form is enough today.


Coming to The End

Thirty days have passed,

the pilgrimage ends, yet new 

words call me onward  




Thursday, April 29, 2021

Looking Through The Window

29th April 2021


This poem just came very quickly with the prompt this morning and it took all of ten minutes to pen. There are probably plenty of errors, but I'm posting anyway. The prompt was to imagine looking through a window and describe what you see.


Looking Through the Window

There she goes, off to the book launch.

It's the fourth time but she still finds it unreal,

like it's happening to someone else.

The car has come for her, a black limo.

Slowly, elegantly she  steps in, her little red shoes 

just visible under the long multicoloured dress,

her hair, which on normal days she ties back 

with an elastic band, 

now arranged in a beautiful bun, with ringlets 

framing her wrinkled yet youthful face.

She didn't dare dream of these moments 

when, ten years ago, at sixty five,

she began to write.

She waves from the window, majestically,

enjoying her moment.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A Beautiful Future

 28th April

 Continuing with NaPoWriMo, which is nearly finished. I haven't made every day, but I've done a fair bit of the month.

Now there are only two days left. let's see if can get to the end with two more poems to finish.

I have to attribute the first line of the poem to the poet Simon Armitage. I thank him for the inspiration. 

Once, the  future was a beautiful place

Once,

 the future was a place of beauty,

A place where, getting old together, 

you and I

Walk by the sea, kick up the stones,

 laugh loudly,

While the breeze plays 

with our hair.

Where, we stroll through

 fields of daffodils,

Yellow flowers, greet the spring,

you pick one, put it under my chin,

do you still like butter?

  as if you don't know.

A new warmth  caresses

 our familiar bodies.,

In the evenings, after shutting the curtains,

You offer me a glass of red,

 sit beside me,

Share a poem or two,

reminisce about when the children

Were young,

we shed tears of gratitude

For each other,

 For the life we’d had, together.

But now, that beautiful place,

 that future

has been stolen away

 ripped from my hands,

By memories

 Of your fading,  

Of your weakening, day after day,

Of sitting by your hospital bed,

 Of holding your hand, as,

softly, silently you slipped away.

The future has become 

 an empty place - dark, cold,

I’d rather not go there.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

He Had A Lovely Smile

24th April 2021


For NaPoWriMo today, I'm going to try to write a sonnet - a first for me.

Playing with the form.


He Had A Lovely Smile

Nothing could prepare me for that day,

When I first saw him looking straight at me.

It was on the beach we first began to play,

And both of us dashed in and out the sea.

He had the most attractive sort of smile,

It captured me and drew me in for sure.

He looked at me with longing all the while

His intentions I convinced myself were pure.

We spent the summer months on golden sands

Walking , talking dreaming, holding hands.

Yet at summers close it all came to an end

I discovered that our love was all pretend .



Thursday, April 22, 2021

No Chicken

 22nd April 

Oh look, it looks like I didn't post this:

1st April

Napowrimo Again - a poem a day in April

Day 1


No Chicken


You sit,
Hunched over,
on the cold pavement,
a colourful sleeping bag
pulled up under your chin,
It seems futile against
this crisp March morning,

Strategically,
carefully,  you've chosen
your place,
next to the steps
that lead 
to the the doors
of the St Benedict's  Church.

You reach out to me,
 hands gnarled, greasy,
 gritted with the road,
Your eyes search me,
 hopefully,
find their way to a  corner
of my soul

"Are you hungry?
Can I get you a sandwich?"
"Yes, thanks..."
Is that an Albanian accent?
"What kind would you like?"
I leave  you that dignity,
won't presume to choose.

"Chicken please..."
"No chicken left, 
what about
 ham and cheese?"
"That's fine, Thank you"
polite, refined, 
what brought you here?

You take my hand.
I wish I could take you home.
I find myself sitting beside you,
we talk for a bit,
I leave
to go back  to my,
centrally heated house



Coffee with Friend

 22nd April 2021

NaPoWriMo day 22.


Now that we can meet and get a take away coffee, I've been catching up with friends.

I find that we're so eager to tell each other what's been happening, I mean, even with the Lockdown we seem to have an abundance of stories and news, that we end up interrupting and rushing our words.

I think it's something we have to ease back into. It might take a while. 


Coffee Outside 

with Friend

"Why was I telling you that?"

"Sorry, I interrupted you, again. But..."

"So, go back to your story,

where were you?"

"That reminds me..."

"No, go on... I'm listening..."

"So, you were saying..."

"What were you saying?"

"Why was I telling you that?"

"Oh, would you look at the sparrows,

they're coming so close..."

"Sorry, I interrupted again...

this cake is good...

are you cold, you're shivering..."

"It was so good to see you...

Shall we go?"